May 2nd, 2012

krazy koati

Lookin' for a handout but no one wants to know

So last week I went to get money out of my main checking account. I have gone to making as few ATM visits as possible, since HSBC charges a flat rate for withdrawals, and since I feel reasonably safe in the Wawa community around me. So I take out a couple hundred, put what I actually need for the week in my wallet and leave the rest at home in a tolerably safe location. (Wawa doesn't charge any fees to withdraw. They also don't charge for the air pumps outside.)

What I got was a surprise: my card had expired. And then I remembered, oh yeah, HSBC had sent me a new debit card and instructions about how to get it turned on and whatnot. I just had thought my card expired at the end of May so there wasn't any rush. Apparently, it actually expired at the end of March. So my policy of going to the ATM rarely is a success.

Naturally, by the way, that day my father needed to borrow some cash from me, because he was driving to the airport and back (brother-related matters; might be worth talking about; we'll see), and needed gas and tolls covered, and he wasn't sure my mother would give him anything. This with me down to ten dollars and singles. Figures. (We worked it out, though. I remembered where I keep a couple twenties around just in case I need money and can't get it from the ATM for some reason.)

The silly thing about all this is that HSBC, a global bank with wide-reaching ambitions, decided last year it didn't need to be in New York State. So its branches there, including my account, are being transferred to another bank. That bank also last week sent my new debit card, with the warning that I shouldn't get it activated before the middle of next month because the accounts won't be formally transferred over until then.

I do like leaving the ``remove this sticker'' sticker on as long as I can, and my old bank card made it to expiration with the sticker still on. I suppose the new HSBC one will make it too, but for a two-month lifespan that's not impressive. Well, and when about the only thing that ever sees the debit card is the ATM, which is normally not judgemental.

Abstract question: I had to enter my pin before the machine could say my old card was expired. Why? I would have thought expiration coded in with the account number.

Trivia: In March 1865 the United States Congress passed a bill taxing the banknotes of state-chartered banks ten percent of face value. By 1866 there were only two hundred banks with state rather than national charters. Source: An Empire Of Wealth: The Epic History Of American Economic Power, John Steele Gordon.

Currently Reading: Hot Time In The Old Town: The Great Heat Wave Of 1896 And The Making Of Theodore Roosevelt, Edward P Kohn.

PS: Why Do We Like Polynomials? Because we really do, we like them a lot. I start here trying to sell the skeptical on them.